Family of California girl found in suitcase seek order to block release of autopsy report

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — The family of an 8-year-old Northern California girl who was kidnapped, murdered and stuffed in a suitcase is trying to block the release of her autopsy report.

The mother and sister of Sandra Cantu filed a request for a temporary restraining order citing the graphic content of the report, lawyer Stewart Tabak said Thursday.

"I am absolutely baffled that the media still wants more ... more details, more misery, more disgustingly graphic details," Tabak said. "What else do they possibly need, since we know the public does not want nor need to know any more."

The move came after San Joaquin County Judge Linda Lofthus lifted a protective order Monday on search warrants and grand jury transcripts in the case.

Tabak said the family was still considering whether to challenge Friday's expected release of those documents.

The records were sought by The Associated Press, Bay Area News Group and the Record of Stockton in a motion citing public interest.

Melissa Huckaby, 29, was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole after she pleaded guilty to murdering Sandra — the playmate of Huckaby's daughter — in 2009.

Lofthus said then she could not rule on releasing Sandra's autopsy report because it had never been entered into the court record and remained under the control of the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.

A hearing on the request for the restraining order is scheduled Friday.

The crime drew national attention after a 10-day search for Sandra ended with her body being found stuffed in a black suitcase that was pulled from an irrigation pond on April 6, 2009, a few miles from the Tracy mobile home park where her family lived.

Sandra died from "homicidal asphyxiation." Prosecutors believe she was drugged then smothered with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol.

Their investigative summary said the girl had injuries to her external genitalia that were consistent with a bent, bloodstained rolling pin found inside a church where Huckaby had taught.